How Sugar Affects Your Teeth

From the time your first teeth grow in, there are tiny sugar-loving microbes in your mouth. They turn sugar into acid which breaks down tooth enamel, causing decay. Sugar can also contribute to gum disease which may advance to periodontitis, a condition that affects the gums and bones that support your teeth. Gum disease has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and dementia. It’s vital to limit sugar intake and follow a few tips to ensure your oral health isn’t negatively affected by sugar.

This TED-Ed video by Mel Rosenberg explains how sugar affects your teeth and how you can prevent a cavity calamity.

How Sugar Leads to Dental Decay

Some of the bacteria in your mouth are helpful and aid in digestion. Other bacteria eat the sugar left on your teeth, which results in plaque. Over time, plaque causes erosion of tooth enamel. If left untreated, dental decay leads to cavities and possibly tooth loss.

Tips to Decrease the Effects of Sugar on Your Teeth

While it may be impossible to cut all sugar from your diet, taming your sweet tooth and following a few tips will help decrease the damage to your teeth.

    • Limit your consumption of sugar, including soft drinks and energy drinks.
    • Drink water to rinse your mouth while eating.
    • Brush teeth after eating sugary foods.
    • Don’t eat sticky, sugary foods such as candy.
    • Cut down on carbohydrates since they turn into sugar in your mouth.
    • Use a fluoride toothpaste which helps build up your enamel.
    • Floss regularly to remove plaque and reduce the bacteria between teeth.

Regular Dental Checkups Catch Tooth Decay Early

Visit the dentist twice a year for an exam and cleaning. When your dentist catches a cavity in its early stages, it can be treated before it causes any permanent damage to your dentin. Ultimate Smile Design, in Palm Bay, Florida, has been serving patients for over 30 years with friendly and professional dental care. We practice mercury-free dentistry, using a composite resin to fill cavities. Schedule an appointment today for yourself and your family to help limit the effects of sugar on your teeth.


Related article: Know the Signs of Healthy Gums and Gum Disease

Article originally posted January 30, 2018 and was updated with fresh content on February 16, 2021.